Multimodal Assignment Sequencing

Just as in the analog classroom, multimodal assignment sequences typically scaffold a series of shorter student activities that then build-up into the final draft of longer projects. Through short, low stakes activities students can practice key skills and receive faculty and peer feedback they can then revise into the project that caps off the sequence or course. Because multimodal assignments may be published at any stage of the sequence, students are free to negotiate an array of stepped demands during their projects to emerge with knowledge of the course content and formal conventions.

In their article “’Convince Me!’ Valuing Multimodal Literacies and Composing Public Service Announcements,” Richard and Cynthia Selfe argue their PSA sequence exposes students to the skills necessary to participate in shifting global literacies that value “traditional alphabetic writing skills” alongside “audio and video transmissions, images, sounds, music, animations, and multimedia presentations” (85-86). The authors break the PSA assignment into modules in which students compose on the same research topic, but in different modalities such as alphanumeric, poster, audio, and video.

The following are some highlights from Selfe and Selfe’s multimodal assignment sequence, each stage of which is a module unto itself that can be rearranged according to student needs. Though it pertains specifically to the Multimodal PSA, the sequence can also be extrapolated to fit a variety of digital assignments.

Topic Generation

  • Students generate topics of national or global concern in which they hold a personal stake

Research & Research Writing

  • Students conduct digital and brick and mortar research on their chosen topic, and then write an alphanumeric, argument driven research essay or hypertext.

Models & Descriptive Analysis

  • Students find a model PSA and write a descriptive analysis of the major rhetorical elements.

Print PSA & Studio Review #1

  • Students write and then present a print PSA for digital studio review, garner peer response, and then revise according to the “Studio Review Form” (the review form and a sample student print PSA is featured on Selfe et. al. p.89).

Audio PSA & Studio Review #2

  • Students write a script for and then record the PSA that they present in studio. Alternatively, students could publish the audio PSA on their websites to open it up to public response with software such as Audacity or Garage Band.

Video PSA & Studio Review #3

  • Students write a script and film a video of the PSA on the topic they originally chose. They film one draft, present it to their peers, or publish it online and then write, film, and publish a second/final draft. Students can film and publish with video tools such as Aviary, Blender, or Sumopaint.

Further Reading

The resources below provide some more ideas for multimodal assignment sequences: